Some Christians today shrug their shoulders and say, "If homosexuals want to get married, let them get married. It doesn't affect me. The legalization of same-sex marriage has no impact on my life whatsoever." Is that a true statement?
I explored this question with one of the foremost defenders of Christian freedoms in America today. His name is Kelly Shackelford and he's the founder and director of the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas. The Liberty Institute is the largest organization of lawyers in America today that is dedicated to the defense and advancement of Christian rights and freedoms. His response is below.
The Impact of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage
These people are misinformed. Such a conclusion is what one might initially assume. You might say, "What do I care?" But, the problem is there are a number of results that are not only going to happen, they've already started to happen. They're no surprises here anymore. The nation was told that if it legalized gay marriage then the following results were going to happen.
Number one, it's not going to affect me. Do you have any connection to any non-profit groups, like maybe your church? One of the results that was stated right out in the open during the oral arguments at the Supreme Court was that if we have this new right to same-sex marriage then how can churches and non-profits hold a tax-exempt status with the federal government when the organization is an "open discriminator" against a federal constitutional right? The Solicitor General of the United States who was arguing the case for our federal government when the question was asked from the Justices didn't say, "Oh, no, we won't prosecute." He said, and I quote, "That will be an issue."
The same issue comes to Christian universities and colleges. They've already begun to question how can you give a federal loan to a student who then goes to a college that's now considered a discriminator?
Now let's look at professional organizations. People think same-sex marriage won't affect their business in the least. It will indeed affect you, and it will affect your work. Almost everybody is in some sort of a profession. Whether you're a doctor or a lawyer or real estate agent or a teacher, you need to get licensed. There are ethic codes businesses must follow.
There are already attempts to take the belief that homosexuality is no longer immoral from the Supreme Court decision and put that into the ethic codes. When that happens, then you will have a decision to make. Either you keep your belief and possibly lose your profession, or you prepare to fold up as a Christian in order to keep your profession and career.
This has already happened in other countries, and its already starting here. We are seeing people fired all the time right now, not because of things they do at work, but because of their beliefs. HR is getting on the Internet and looking up the church you attend, and then they judge you by the creed of your church. Even though you've done nothing wrong at the workplace, people are being fired for what their churches believe.
Let me give you an example, for people have a hard time believing this behavior actually happens. We represented Eric Walsh who was the Director of Public Health for the state of Georgia. He was over a whole third of the state. That's a big region of the state. He accepted the job, but then a few days later some coworkers called HR and said, "You need to look at where this guy goes to church." We now have copies of the emails from Georgia's government officials divvying up the sermons from the church and deciding who would read which one. After reading the church's sermons, the next morning the state fired him.
I want people to think about that. Eric Walsh was fired not because of anything he did or said at work. He was fired because of what was said in his church on a Sunday. Does that violate the law? Yes, it violates the law. But, we are having a whole lot of these cases now, and we didn't used to have any of these cases before.
The First Amendment protects not only the freedom of speech, but the free exercise of religion. And yet, people who will not bake cakes for gay weddings are losing their businesses. They can even be fined. We have bakers, we have florists, and we have photographers we're representing in court who have all been punished for their religious convictions.
Notice how selective this enforcement is. For example, what would happen if you went to a Jewish caterer and you asked them to fix pork chops, but he said he couldn't because of his religious convictions. Would the caterer be persecuted? This scenario has actually been tested with a Muslim t-shirt maker. These homosexual activists don't want to prosecute or push against Judaism and Islam, just against Christianity. But, they are willing to go after the Klein's. They're the bakers from Oregon and have been fined $250,000 for not making a cake for two lesbian women. They've made cakes for them in the past, but they just said they couldn't make a gay wedding cake because of their faith. There were certainly plenty of bakers the lesbian couple could have gone to, but instead they attempted to force these bakers to violate their religious convictions.
Then there are the ministers who had their sermons subpoenaed by the lesbian mayor of Houston, Texas.
In the fourth segment of my interview of Kelly Shackelford on the subject of Christianity under attack, we'll look at the war for the soul of our military and define the perilous term "freedom of worship."